Thursday, March 28, 2013

unqualified but still equipped

Stepping into a church staff position in student ministry sounded like fun. I was 21, had lots of volunteer experience, and was positive of God's calling on my life. After all, my experience growing up had been that student ministry is event-based (especially with girls... and even more so with the not-so-popular girls). There is curriculum for all the Bible studies. And obviously I would know more than my students about the Bible. It might be challenging but I was definitely up for it.

What I didn't realize is that student ministry is a whole lot more than disciple now weekends, youth camp and Bible studies. I didn't realize the magnitude of my pride and how much I did not know. I didn't realize that real ministry is hard and messy because you come face to face with all the hard, messy parts of everyone's lives. You see the struggles, sin and abuses of people that you love deeply. I didn't realize that there could be conflict with parents, with staff, with other churches (what?!) which all called for biblical resolution. I had no idea how many times I would find myself at a loss for words, praying, panicked, for wisdom. 

A year into my time as student minister I found myself questioning whether I should even be there. The enemy spoke lies that I wasn't smart enough, strong enough, a good enough speaker (which, btw, were all true) and therefore could not really adequately do my job.

Thank God for His affirmation. 
It was right at the pinnacle of that struggle that one of my students made a commitment to follow Christ. When she shared her story of how God spoke to her heart, she said- "Chelsea, I saw your joy and I wanted that."

Wow. Waterworks. 

Even though I'm highly aware that none of her story was about me, that statement was God speaking straight to me, straight through the lies, assuring me that He was in control and that through my obedience, I got to be a part of that. I'm not smart enough or a good enough speaker. And you know what? That's okay. Because the Holy Spirit equips me, even when I'm unsure. 

This quote from my seminary reading struck a chord with me-

"In a very real sense, not one of us is qualified but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do His work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there's no danger that we will confuse God's work with out own or God's glory with our own."-Madeleine L'Engle

Nothing about my life, aside from Jesus, qualifies me for ministry. I have faced issues that I never thought that I would deal with: alcoholism, drug abuse, cutting, depression, suicide, teen pregnancy, separated families, rape/sexual abuse. Y'all I never dealt with any of that growing up. I live a pretty charmed life. I don't have experiential wisdom. My heart aches to the point of being sick to think of my beloved students going through trials and falling to temptation. The absolute only way that I am able to walk alongside them through that is by the power of Christ. 

As I was reading for class I had some time to really reflect on how true it is that God uses the weak. I love how far He's brought me and how much each student has grown. However, I am fully aware that no matter how many classes or what kind of degree I have, I am still unqualified. Thank God that I am equipped. 


  1. Your heart for doing what the Lord has called you to is so incredible. I love that even when you have felt completely out of the box and not in the right place, you trusted God and He came through! Such an awesome story to share:)

  2. Beautiful post, Chels! I can see how much the Lord is using you, and it is SO inspiring! I am thankful for a God who has a beautiful plan for each and every one of us, and will equip us to do whatever it is He calls us to.

  3. I loved this post! You are absolutely right too...Any job done with people as a Christian is ROUGH. Sin and Satan make it hard, our weaknesses make it hard, and caring makes it hard. Those jobs are always the most rewarding though. If we can hold on and watch God do what He does, we will be amazed!

    Tell me about Madeliene L'Engle and the book that quote is from! I've read several of her fiction books and definitely thought she had SOME kind of religious background. I never imagined she would write anything quite like that though!

  4. that quote is dead-on. As is everything you said here. Thank God He doesn't only choose the qualified, because I know I wouldn't be considered one of those! I love to look at who it is Jesus chose to teach and bring up as leaders of the Christian church. The unlikeliest of people. What a testament.

  5. I was a interm youth director in College. I will always have such a special place in my heart for youth directors. I teach middle school and I constantly here about the impact you all make on the lives of theses kids even if it doesn't always seem like it! Keep up the EXCELLENT work!


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